Improve Your Kicking

Luis Bonnet

If you study any martial art that utilizes kicking, these exercises are for you. Being able to execute a good kick requires more than just having power. There are many components such as flexibility, balance, center of gravity, strength, power, and speed. One area you want to make sure you do not neglect to workout is your hip. Almost every kick starts generating power from the hip. For this reason you want to have strong flexible hips:

1. Vertical Swinging Legs
Swing your legs forward, to the side and behind you. This is a great warm up exercise using dynamic movement to stretch your legs muscles. Try swinging each around twelve times to the front, side, and back.

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2. Side-to-Side Horizontal Swings
This exercise will work and strengthen your hips. When kicking you almost always utilize your hips. Knowing how to use them is key. Hold onto a wall or something surdy for support. You want to keep the leg straight and swing it.

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3. Leg Circles
This will help strengthen your hips. It is a great exercise and harder than it looks: The smaller the circles, the harder they are to perform. Try two sets of 12 for each leg, twelve circles in and twelve circles out with each leg – this equals to one set.

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4. Slow Kicking
Stand on top of a cinder block and slowly perform a kick. Wear ankle weights for an added challenge. Try two sets of twelve kicks, kicking to the front, the side, then behind you. This will challenge your balance. If you do not have a strong foundation when kicking, your power means nothing! When you kick you compromise your balance. This is a more advanced exercise and requires that you can perform the exercise on the floor first. It should take about four seconds before your kick makes it to the target. Hold the kick out for two seconds. Bring the kick back, taking four seconds to bring it down to the block.

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